Phil Hughes wanted to stay in, but starters always want to stay in. Joe Girardi preferred the left-on-left matchup, but Girardi always likes the by-the-book matchup. Boone Logan said fatigue is not an issue, but relievers always say fatigue is not an issue.
“It was really tough (to watch),” Hughes said. “Not just from the standpoint of wanting to be out there, but also we wanted to win this game. It was a big game, so it was difficult.”
That seventh inning came down to three things, each one as important as the next.
Until the seventh, Hughes seemed to be cruising to his team-leading 17th win of the season. He’d thrown just 73 pitches, allowed just four baserunners and been surprisingly good at keeping the ball in the infield. In that seventh, though, he threw 26 pitches and let the Twins load the bases on two singles and a walk. He fell behind the count 3-1 against Pedro Florimon before getting a strikeout on his final pitch of the night. He created the mess, but he was one out away from ending it.
“If anything, after getting a big strikeout, you gain a little adrenaline and really look forward to getting that last guy,” Hughes said. “But I don’t get paid to make those calls.”
Joe Girardi going to the bullpen
“It had been a struggle so far in that inning,” Girardi said. “He had had a walk, a long at-bat, a 3-2 count. Boonie had had a ton of success against Span and it didn’t work.”
Hughes had reached 99 pitches, and the Twins had four straight left-handers coming to the plate, beginning with Denard Span who had grounded out three times against Hughes earlier in the night. Span came into the game 2-for-5 with a walk in his career against Hughes. He was 0-for-4 with a walk in his career against Logan.
“Hughes still had good stuff, I thought,” Martin said. “It’s easy to look back and criticize after one of your lefties, who has been money all year, doesn’t get it done. The same thing could have happened to Hughes. Hughes could have gotten out of the inning or Boone could have gotten out of the inning as well. That’s the way baseball is.”
Boone Logan looking gassed
“I would say that’s a fair assessment,” Martin said. “We need a couple blowouts so we can get our guys some rest. We’re getting to that time in the season where everybody in the league is feeling it, but especially guys like Boone who have thrown a tremendous amount. They can definitely use a couple days where we score more than enough runs.”
This was Logan’s A.L.-leading 77th appearance of the season. His slider was bad. His first pitch bounced off the plate for a wild pitch. He faced four straight lefties and got only one of them out. It was only the second time since September 6 that a run scored while Logan was on the mound, but across the board his number have been significantly worse this month than last month (he’s kind of been on a good month, bad month cycle all year).
“This has been the strongest month since the beginning of the season that I’ve felt,” he said. “Been on a roll. We’ve all been on a roll, just hit a little bump in the road. … I like going in there in those situations. I’m upset, A: That we lost and B: That I gave up Phil’s runs. I had four lefties in a row to get out, and I only got one of them out. There’s no excuse. I just didn’t have my stuff tonight.”
• Martin said there was a fourth element to that four-run seventh inning that cost the Yankees tonight’s game: The wild pitch on Logan’s first offering of the night. It skipped off the plate, but Martin was mad at himself for letting it slip under his glove. “The plate’s been there for a long time,” he said. “I need to block the ball. … I just picked up my glove too soon and it went under my legs. It’s like Catching 101. Keep your glove down and we have a different ballgame.”
• Logan’s slider is usually his best pitch, and he said he felt the need to keep going to it tonight. His wild pitch, both hits he allowed, and his ball four were all sliders. “If I’m going to get beat, I want to get beat off my best pitch,” he said. “I don’t have any answers. I just had a bad night.”
• Speaking of the slider, after having success with his fastball earlier in the at-bat, Hughes went to his slider against Jamey Carroll in that seventh inning. That’s the pitch that Carroll hit for a single to load the bases. “He’s a guy that doesn’t really strike out that much,” Hughes said. “Maybe getting him to two strikes is easy, but you’re not going to put him away with a fastball. I throw one right under his neck, basically, and he fouled it off. So I thought, do I keep doing this and hope he grounds out, or do I throw a slider, which I had gotten him out the first time on? So I went with the slider, and he just hit it in the right spot.”
• Hughes on his fastball command tonight, which was especially good early. “Felt like it was pretty good,” he said. “I was missing over the plate a little bit, but I feel like my stuff was good enough, and I was attacking guys and being aggressive. I threw some pretty good changeups when I had to, and some pretty good sliders, but I live and die with the fastball. If I had that, it was going to be pretty good, and it was until that seventh inning.”
• Robinson Cano finally had a pretty good game with three hits, but Alex Rodriguez had another bad one going 0-for-4. “He hit two balls pretty decent today,” Girardi said. “He hit the ball to right center, he grounded out hard to short. It’s just what you go through as a hitter.”
• Derek Jeter’s hitting streak reached a season-high 19 games. It’s the longest active streak in the Majors and ties the third-longest of his career.
• Nick Swisher has homered in four of his past six games. … Russell Martin matched his single-season career high with his 19th home run of the year. … Andruw Jones hit his second pinch-hit homer of the season and the fifth of his career.
• Final word goes to Girardi: “You had an opportunity, and you could look at it the other way too. So we gotta come out and win the series tomorrow. … You know what’s in front of you and you know you have an opportunity to pick up another game, so yeah, it’s, you know. But you gotta move on.”
Associated Press photos